Defence on display

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:10 AM ET

The latest trend in the CFL could be on display in the Argos home opener.

Both the Argos and the visiting B.C. Lions are expected to employ the same types of defensive fronts -- three down linemen and four linebackers -- on Saturday at Rogers Centre.

The Lions have switched to the alignment, commonly known as a 30 front, instead of using four down linemen and three linebackers, called a 40 front.

New defensive co-ordinator Dave Ritchie, who has re-joined the Lions, has tinkered with the 30 front to improve the team's defence from last year.

The Argos have used the 30 since Rich Stubler joined the staff full time for the start of the 2003 season. Calgary switched last year and Saskatchewan is using the 30 with regularity.

"Football is cyclical," Stubler said yesterday. "If you have good players at certain positions then you should play those fronts. It's nothing different really. We're not re-inventing the wheel.

"If you utilize the right players, then you should play whatever front. If I had four big guys, I'd play (them up front).

"I have good linebackers with speed and experience, then that's what I should do."

DECISION NEARS

After today's practice, the Argos will set their season-opening roster and announce it tomorrow.

With running back John Avery showing no signs in practice of the adductor injury that sidelined him for the two pre-season games and backup Jeff Johnson practising solidly, it could be difficult for flashy rookie Hakim Hill to crack the initial game-day roster as one of the two designated imports.

Return specialist Bashir Levingston routinely dressed as one of the two DIS last year -- backup defensive back Chuck Winters had the other spot -- and there has been speculation he may be supplanted by Hill.

But because B.C. showed a reluctance to kick to Levingston and/or fellow returner Arland Bruce last year in the Grey Cup, combined with punter Duncan O'Mahony failing to execute, Levingston could affect the Lions psychologically.

FAMILY VALUES

The players on the Argo defence are wearing T-shirts that profess their feeling of family.

Winters, who works for the clothing apparel company Plain & Simple, designed shirts with one of the team's saying: FIFO (It stands for fit in or get lost, or something to that effect).


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